I always feel left out of cafe culture. I don’t like coffee, I’m fussy about how my tea is made and hot chocolate means whipped crema and an extra hours running to get rid of it, but I have discovered a new love – the Purple Sweet Potato Latte – and yes, it does include actual spuds.
I admit at first when I saw the sign for one outside a cafe in Sydney’s Chinatown I wasn’t massively convinced, but I decided to add it to my list of things to try on my recent blog research day (the one that saw me finding sushi doughnuts and eating spiny sea urchin). After all, it’s purple – my favourite colour, it was theoretically instagrammable, it was a bit odd (which we know I love), in theory it was healthy – plus potato drinks are having a bit of a moment right now. You can buy potato juice, there’s a potato milk in the US and now, there’s sweet potato lattes. Admittedly, I was fully expecting to take one mouthful and think ‘urgh’ and so, I hid myself at the back of the Kanzi Cafe on Sussex Street so they couldn’t see my face as I drank it. But there was no need – I was love at first slurp.
In fact, if you hadn’t told me it had potato in it I’d never have guessed. It doesn’t really impact on the flavour in any way. Instead, it’s just like drinking a cup of purple hot, sweet milk – it reminded me of being little at my Nan’s house when I was given a cup of hot milk just before I went to bed. I loved spending nights at my Nan’s house so I was immediately in a happy place. My only disappointment was that it wasn’t quite as purple as I was expecting so my plan of sweet potato latte based insta-domination failed.
It seems that the sweet potato latte trend has come to Sydney from Korea where it’s a seasonal thing based around when purple sweet potatoes come into season. Apparently, these don’t have quite the same taste as the sweet potatoes we get here in Australia or that are found in the UK or the US. They are less obviously sweet and slightly more nutty – but there are latte fans out there who, when deprived of the real thing, have tried the recipe with normal sweet potatoes and reported success.
The Healthy Bit
The good thing about the sweet potato latte is that it’s actually a bit of a nutrient bomb in a cup. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. You need vitamin A for good immunity – it helps shore up the mucus membranes of the nose making it harder for colds and flu to take hold, plus it’s essential for healthy eyesight. Other nutrients in sweet potato include vitamin C, a selection of energising B vitamins and some of the vital minerals like copper and potassium. Add that to the calcium and other goodies in the milk and it’s a like a little frothy vitamin injection. You’ll find sweet potato lattes (of varying colours) in a few cafes in Sydney and Melbourne. I haven’t found a confirmed sighting of it in London but there are rumours that you’ll find them in some smaller Korean Cafes. If you want to try and make your own though it’s an easy enough recipe even I could manage it! I just used normal sweet potatoes to make the recipe below…
How to make Sweet Potato Latte at Home
To make the latte peel and steam or bake the potato until it is soft. Heat the milk and then blend the potato with it – use about 2 tablespoons of potato flesh for every cup of milk. Add a dash of sugar to sweeten things up and stir. Should you be so inclined you can give the milk a froth and add a couple of flaked almonds on top – I think the one I had at Kanzi actually had a tiny spoonful of oats which added an extra something. I’m definitely a fan.
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Want to give making a sweet potato latte a try?: Here are four things you might need – other than sweet potatoes. Click the pics and you’ll go straight to an order page on amazon where you can find out more …
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